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Island Art Festival welcomes the start of the holiday season

The holiday spirit it soon set to sweep over the Florida Keys and while there will be more palm trees than Christmas trees and certainly no sign of snow, there will be a welcoming festive atmosphere for visitors and locals to embrace.

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In the subtropical Lower Keys with balmy breezes and warm sunshine, the holiday season will start at the free-admission Big Pine & Lower Keys Island Art Festival from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, November 29, on the grounds of the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, mile marker 31 oceanside.

A schedule of highlights will include exhibits and booths featuring handcrafted art, jewelry, pottery and more by local artists and artisans. This family-friendly event offers visitors the chance to purchase one-of-a-kind holiday gifts and artwork while enjoying the natural beauty surrounding the area.

There will also be live music by popular local bands and entertainers alongside delicious food and drink, making it the perfect seasonal tradition in the Lower Keys.

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Amateur Eaters to Pause for the Claws at Oct. 18 Contest in Marathon

Jumpstarting the annual seven-month stone crab season is a much-anticipated munch-a-thon, the fourth annual Stone Crab Claw Eating Contest for amateur eaters, set for Saturday, Oct. 18.

Staged at Keys Fisheries Market and Marina, located at 35th Street gulfside in Marathon, the lively consumption competition is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Entrants must register and be present by 12 p.m. the day of the event.

Individual entry fee is $50, and two-person teams can register for $100. Contestants must be at least 18 years of age. Interested eaters are encouraged to register early for their bib-wearing spot at the table.

Contestants must crack, clean and eat 25 stone crab claws in the fastest time. Although they are provided with shell crackers, alternatively, entrants can gently smack the shell with the back of a large spoon — an effective method employed by many Keys locals.

In the event of a tie, those competitors must face off in a 10-claw competition to determine the top winner. Prizes are to be awarded to the top three finishers.

Stone crab season runs from Oct. 15 to May 15 and hundreds of thousands of pounds of stone crab claws are steamed, cracked and served at local markets, restaurants and transported around the nation. The Keys are Florida’s top supplier of the succulent crustacean, considered a renewable resource because of the crabs’ ability to re-grow harvested claws.

Event information and registration: www.keysfisheries.com

Call 855-606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner at Tranquility Bay Resort or book online.

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Celebrate Thanksgiving 2014 Florida Keys-style at Tranquility Bay

It’s autumn in the Florida Keys and Thanksgiving Day is just around the corner on November 27th, which is why our culinary team at Tranquility Bay Hotel and Resort is starting to turn up the heat in the Butterfly Café kitchen. With a taste bud-tempting menu created especially for the Thanksgiving holidays in Florida, our team will be busy behind the scenes with turkeys to roast, pumpkin pies to prepare and cranberry sauce to season with a tropical twist. Get ready to indulge Keys-style and celebrate Thanksgiving 2014 in Florida. View the Butterfly Cafe Thanksgiving Menu

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A feast fit for Thanksgiving: Dine in or take away

Rated Marathon’s number one restaurant by TripAdvisor, Butterfly Café will set the scene for a Thanksgiving dinner to remember, or you can order Thanksgiving “to go” and dine in the comfort of your beach house. Please note that guestrooms do not have dining tables.

Dine-in: Thanksgiving Buffet at Butterfly Cafe

Thanks to our covered outdoor patio you can devour your meal outside in the warm, breezy air. There is also the sophisticated Butterfly Cafe dining room complete with a sky-high ceiling that creates an impressive atmosphere among stylish décor, perfect for savoring the flavors of classic Thanksgiving dishes that will include oven-roasted turkey with white hunter gravy.

The carving station will also feature pineapple chutney honey glazed ham and the traditional, much-loved pumpkin soup will be given tropical treatment with a blend of coconut. Meats will be served with a delicious selection of accompaniments, including ginger-spiced cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole topped with pecans and marshmallows. Hungry for more Florida Keys-inspired dishes? There will be oysters on the half shell, peel ‘n eat Key West pink shrimp, surimi crab salad and gourmet cheeses. Just make sure you leave enough room for dessert! Butterfly Café’s Thanksgiving dinner is served from 2pm to 8pm by reservation only.

To make dine-in reservations, email rrivers@tranquilitybay.com or call 305-289-7177

Take-away: Order Thanksgiving dinner “take out”

If you’d like some personal time with family, you can also request Thanksgiving “take-out” and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in the comfort of your Beach House. Order in advance and enjoy the following:

  • 1 Turkey (10-12 pounds)
  • Sides for 4-6 people, including: Mashed Potatoes (with or without Gravy), Green beans, Mushroom & Brioche Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce
  • 6 Dinner Rolls or Corn Muffins
  • 1 Key Lime OR Pumpkin Pie (serves 6)
  • Price $95.00
  • Must prepay and order before November 21st 2014

Send orders to rrivers@tranquilitybay.com or call 305-289-5920

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A tropical haven for relaxation

A Thanksgiving celebration on vacation not only means treating yourself to Butterfly Café’s finest food, but also finding every opportunity to relax and unwind beneath the golden rays of sunshine as the northern hemisphere wraps up against an autumn chill. With its own private 2.5 acre beach, Tranquility Bay provides the perfect Thanksgiving getaway, offering a spacious stretch of soft white sand for sun lounging as well as an exciting range of watersports for adventure-seekers, such as Paddle Boarding, Kayaking, Wave Runners, Hobie Cats and boat rentals. The resort features three sparkling pools including our large lagoon-style pool, all nestled among a tropical garden oasis offering peace, privacy and paradise.

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A luxury room for ultimate comfort

Guestrooms and beach houses at Tranquility Bay have been designed with the ultimate comfort and luxury in mind, all you need to consider is whether to choose a beachfront view or a luscious green landscape overlooking our tropical gardens. Just a short stroll from the central swimming pool and beach are the intimate Tropical Garden Guestrooms, which are perfect for couples looking for seclusion and serenity.

If it’s more space you’re after for enjoying Thanksgiving travel with family, try one of our two or three-bedroom beach houses overlooking the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Offering a relaxing “home away from home” atmosphere, everything your family needs is under one roof, including laundry facilities, a fully equipped kitchen and a super comfortable living room complete with a 42-inch plasma TV.

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Call 855-606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner at Tranquility Bay Resort or book online.

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Discover the Florida Keys Birding & Wildlife Festival This September

The 16th annual Florida Keys Birding and Wildlife Festival, set for Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 23-28, offers birders, outdoor enthusiasts and nature photographers a backstage pass to view native wildlife and explore one of Florida’s most precious ecosystems.

Marathon Birding and Wildlife Festival

Anchored at Marathon’s oceanfront preserve of Curry Hammock State Park, mile marker 56.2, the family-friendly event characteristically includes field trips to national, state and private natural and backcountry areas of the Florida Keys.

Participants can enjoy behind-the-scenes guided walks and boat and kayak adventures to some of the Keys’ wildest places. They include Florida Bay by Everglades National Park, the National Key Deer Refuge, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock State Park and Dry Tortugas National Park, located 70 miles off Key West.

More than a dozen birding and wildlife experts, guides and writers are to lead excursions, workshops and informative presentations. Topics include how to be a better birder, radar ornithology, raptor behavior, migratory birds and more.

The popular Wildlife Fair and Family Day is set for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at Curry Hammock. Admission to the fair is free.

Sunday, Sept. 28, is the signature all-day birding excursion to Dry Tortugas National Park. A ferry to the remote birders’ paradise boards at 7:30 a.m. in Key West and returns around 5 p.m. Reservations are required and space is limited to two groups of 20 people each.

Festival attendees also are welcome to join “hawkwatchers” daily as they monitor the flights of record numbers of peregrine falcons and other raptors from a perch at Curry Hammock State Park. The Florida Keys Hawkwatch team spearheads the southernmost migration count in the continental United States, documenting as many as 18 species and 25,000 diurnal birds of prey and more than 120 species of waders, shorebirds and songbirds.

Event registration fees apply for daily programs and field trips. Early registration is encouraged.

Event information: www.keysbirdingfest.org or Kristie Killam at 305-304-9625

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Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters Opens Near Tranquility Bay Resort

Visitors to the middle Florida Keys now can enjoy an immersive experience with reef fish, invertebrates, stingrays and even sharks — without entering the ocean — at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters. At the marine life attraction, recently opened in Marathon, they can learn about the importance of marine conservation while discovering the Keys’ complex underwater habitats.

The signature feature of the multimillion-dollar facility, located near the foot of the Vaca Cut Bridge at 11710 Overseas Highway, is a coral reef exhibit and shark habitat housed in a massive 200,000-gallon interconnected saltwater aquarium.

Following an instructional presentation, participants in the flagship 90-minute encounter can immerse themselves in the tank to hover over an artificial coral reef structure and interact with tropical reef fish, rays and other reef-dwelling marine species that are part of the in-tank ecosystem.

The encounter employs tethered diving technology, enabling individuals without prior scuba experience to enjoy the in-water opportunity with supervision from trained professional dive instructors. A large fortified Plexiglas window divides the coral reef tank from a shark and predatory fish tank, and participants can hand-feed those creatures through underwater feeding ports in the window.

Other interactive aquarium encounters include shallow touch tanks that feature starfish, conchs and horseshoe crabs, and allow feeding debarbed stingrays and docile baby nurse sharks. At each encounter, a staff marine biologist provides educational introduction and guidance.

Visit www.floridakeysaquariumencounters.com or call 305-407-3262.

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Silver Airways offers daily nonstop flights between Orlando and Key West

Silver Airways has initiated daily nonstop flights between Orlando International Airport and Key West International Airport. Two flights are offered daily and take approximately 80 minutes. The airline is using 34-passenger Saab 340B Plus aircraft for the route.

As well as its nonstop Orlando/Key West flights, Silver Airways offers nonstop service between the island city and  Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Tampa, Fla.

In addition, passengers can choose connecting flights to dozens of destinations beyond Florida through the airline’s codeshare and interline ticketing partnerships.

For more information and to book a flight, visit www.silverairways.com.

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“Sea” You Later, Seagrass! Wave Goodbye to Seagrass at Tranquility Bay.

Do you have a friend or family member that you love with all of your heart, yet you have to take them in small doses? Well, many Marathon, Florida locals will agree that we have a love/hate relationship with seagrass on our beautiful island and we would also prefer to take it in small doses. While seagrass is a vital part of our ecosystem in the Florida Keys, it can be a bit smelly as it accumulates on our tropical beaches. To alleviate this issue, we have decided to keep our pungent pal at arm’s length with the installation of a new eco-friendly seagrass fence at Tranquility Bay.

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First, let’s not forget all of the reasons why we love seagrass. Florida has roughly 2.2 million acres of seagrasses that perform many amazing functions. For starters, they help make our waters crystal-clear by trapping fine sediments and particles with their leaves.

When the grass matures, it also releases from the ocean bed and floats above where seagrasses then form a canopy which protects smaller marine animals from larger predators. This includes shelter for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish, while the seagrasses also grow organisms that provide food for many marine animals and water birds. Some animals such as manatees, urchins and sea turtles, eat seagrass blades. Other animals get their nutrition from eating algae and small animals that live upon the seagrass leaves. Bottlenose dolphins and water birds additionally use seagrass beds as feeding grounds.

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So we obviously cannot and do not want to “do away with” seagrass, so our fence just keeps the seagrasses away from our beach in a creative way. And while this process has taken longer than we would like, it was important to implement the appropriate actions to ensure that our fence was eco-friendly and helped to sustain the nearby seagrass population. The Tranquility Bay seagrass fence works to keep seagrasses off of our beach while the grass stays in the ocean, continuing to do its many good deeds.

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You can now bask on our small, yet beautiful beach without seagrass cramping your style. So two thumbs up for seagrass, but we’ll wave from afar as we unwind on our pristine white beach at Tranquility Bay Resort.

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4th of July in the Florida Keys: Family, Fireworks, Food and Fun!

Every year in Marathon, families and friends join together on July 4th to celebrate Independence Day with picnics, parades, beachside fun, and spectacular firework displays.

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Florida Keys Summer Vacation

This year will feature an entire day of fun followed by one of the largest and longest firework displays in the Florida Keys on Sombrero Beach.  Celebrations begin with a patriotic parade in the morning, starting around 10:30, from Marathon High School to Sombrero Beach where a daylong party brings together food, drink, kids’ crafts and entertainment. The fireworks will then fill the skies with color after dark and there will be hundreds of boaters lined up in front of the beach for the best view of the celebrations.

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The Americana Music Festival also takes place during the July 4th festivities. Between June 30th and July 5th, you can discover around 30 musical bands and solo performers on stage at Marathon’s popular waterfront venue, Dockside Tropical Cafe (35 Sombrero Boulevard). The free event will feature afternoon performances and headliners later in the evening, all creating a lively atmosphere to add to the Independence Day celebrations.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, head down to Key West for the day and get a taste of the Key Lime Pie Festival (July 3 – 5). There’s every excuse to indulge in Key West’s favorite flavor during this festival while enjoying a number of highlights, including a Key lime pie-eating contest, a Miss Key Lime Pageant, and the unveiling of an impressive 9 foot-wide pie which will be served up on Greene Street, just off Duval Street.

Call (855) 266-2703 to book your stay at Tranquility Bay Resort this 4th of July.

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Sale Away Into Summer: Book by May 14th for Summer Vacation!

Getting organized early for summer can help you spend less on your family vacation so that you can get a piece of luxury at a slice of the price. It’s our way of treating you and your loved ones to a more affordable ticket to paradise following the long winter months, because you deserve to relax and have fun amid the beauty of the Florida Keys here at Tranquility Bay Resort in Marathon, Florida.

Florida Keys Hotel Summer Family Fun

Our “Sale Into Summer“ promotion offers up to 25% savings on spacious two or three-bedroom beach houses with views of the Gulf of Mexico, so you can look out on your own private paradise. Our charming two-bedroom beach houses are perfect for a family of four, offering two-level living with French doors that lead out onto spacious porches on both levels.

Florida Keys Hotel Summer Family Fun

We’ve created each beach house with comfort and luxury in mind, so you can indulge in style surrounded by quaintly painted furniture and enjoy the benefits of a private laundry service, flatscreen TVs, wireless internet and cable TV. The master bedroom features a king size bed and the second bedroom is perfect for siblings to share with twin size beds, all beautifully prepared with luxurious linens.

Florida Keys Hotel Summer Family Fun

Also available in our ‘Sale Into Summer‘ offer are the super spacious three-bedroom beach houses, ideal for larger families or groups of friends. Offering all the comfort, luxury and detail of our two-bedroom houses, you will find even more space here for up to six people with an additional bedroom offering a queen size bed. Whichever size beach house suits you and your party, every morning you can guarantee to wake up to the sight and sound of serenity before you plan your fun-filled day of family adventure.

Florida Keys Hotel Summer Family Fun

There couldn’t be a more ideal location for a summer family vacation than the Florida Keys. Tranquility Bay is surrounded by attractions and activities for all age groups to enjoy, including swimming with dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center, meeting sea turtles at the Turtle Hospital and snorkeling to find colorful coral and tropical fish. The resort is home to its own private beach, sparkling pools and the award-winning Butterfly Cafe which offers relaxed dining and a children’s menu. There are also more water-based activities than you can even fit into your vacation, to help make the most of your long-awaited summer break. 

Florida Keys Hotel Summer Family Fun

It’s no surprise that our resort remains the number one hotel in Marathon on TripAdvisor, so make sure you don’t lose out on the pleasure of unwinding in style at a lower price, as our family-friendly beach houses are set to sell fast the sooner summer arrives. 

Florida Keys Hotel Summer Family Fun

The “Sale Into Summer” promotion launches on May 5th and is available until May 14th for bookings over the summer through September 22nd. Book now via Call 877-705-5758 or visit www.tranquilitybay.com/saleaway.

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Spring and Summer Savings This Week Only

Let’s start the week off right with some exceptional offers from Tranquility Bay Resort. We’ve highlighted some of the best dates where you can save big bucks between now and the summer months. These offers are available as of the week of April 7th only so book now to avoid disappointment! Please note for all offers that rates do not include a daily resort fee of $27 or applicable taxes. Offers are also subject to limited availability and blackout dates. Your deposit and cancellation policy will additionally depend on the type of reservation that you have booked. Please call 855-606-4502 for details.

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SUMMER WEEKDAY SALE FROM $219/NIGHT… A 15% SAVINGS!

Relax, unwind and find serenity this summer at our Florida Keys resort. Whether you’re traveling with friends, family, or are in search of a romantic retreat, Tranquility Bay offers a little something for everyone and relaxation for all. Dive into rejuvenating watersports activities, swim with dolphins nearby, try beach yoga, or just enjoy some traditional family fun. You can also soak up the sun on our 2.5 acre beach or our lagoon style pool. Discover paradise from just $219/night when staying Sundays through Thursdays in a Tropical Garden Guestroom. Find this offer on select dates from June 8 – August 23, 2014.

Call 855-606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner or book online, now. 


STAY 5 NIGHTS BEACH HOUSE SPECIAL: SAVE UP TO 20% FROM $299/NIGHT

Enjoy special savings for staying at least five nights at Tranquility Bay Resort! Book a two-bedroom waterview beach house on the following dates and receive up to 20% off of our best available rates:

  • Sunday April 27 – Thursday May 1 (15% savings)
  • Sunday May 18 – Thursday May 22 (15% savings)
  • Monday May 26 – Thursday May 29 (15% savings)
  • Sunday June 1 – Thursday June 5 (10% savings)
  • Sundays through Thursdays from June 8 – 26 (20% savings)

Call 855-606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner or book online, now.


MAY ESCAPES FROM $199/NIGHT IN A TROPICAL GARDEN GUESTROOM

Discover paradise in May when staying in our new Tropical Garden Guestrooms at Tranquility Bay Resort. Call 855-606-4502 for two and three-bedroom beach house pricing. Find this offer on the following dates:

  • Friday, May 2, 2014
  • Monday, May 5 through Friday, May 9, 2014
  • Sunday, May 18 through Thursday, May 22, 2014

Call 855-606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner or book online, now.


VALUE DATES FROM $169/NIGHT DURING SELECT TRAVEL PERIODS

Book a Tropical Garden Guestroom during the following dates and enjoy rates from just $169/night. Call 855-606-4502 for two and three-bedroom beach house pricing.

  • Sunday, April 27 through Thursday, May 1, 2014
  • Monday, May 26 through Thursday, May 29, 2014
  • Sunday, June 1 through Thursday, June 5, 2014
  • Sunday, August 24 through Thursday, August 28, 2014
  • Many dates in September, 2014

Call 855-606-4502 to speak with an onsite vacation planner or book online, now.

Rates do not include daily resort fee of $27 or applicable taxes. Offers are subject to limited availability and blackout dates. Deposit and cancellation policy depend on type of reservation booked.

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